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The Fur Trade Today - 08/03/05

Published 08/03/05

The wild-born alpha male of the Francisco Pack of Mexican gray wolves was trapped on Saturday morning in the Gila National Forest of New Mexico and his right front leg was broken as he tried to escape from the steel leghold trap. He underwent initial surgery on Monday and is having his leg amputated today. ...

A lone wolf who has travelled hundreds of miles seeking a mate on the Gila National Forest was also trapped Sunday morning near a cow he killed on a private inholding. Meanwhile, traps have been set for the alpha male of the Ring Pack, and a decision is expected shortly over whether to kill him. Yesterday he was in the vicinity of a dead cow thought to have died from eating poisonous plants, and he killed two calves in the same area of the Gila National Forest. This region, Collins Park, is the same area in which the Francisco Pack was repeatedly drawn by livestock carcasses before they started hunting cattle. The Francisco Pack male is the second Mexican wolf to lose his leg as a result of a government trap. The alpha female of the Mule Pack had her leg amputated in January 2000 as a result of a trapping mishap; she was not accused of preying on livestock but was being trapped because she had scavenged on a dead cow and dead horse left on the Apache National Forest in Arizona. Her leg was cut off because she had developed frostbite due to being left in the trap in winter weather. ... The vigorous control program against the Mexican gray wolf has now reduced the number of radio-collared “lobos” to 24 animals almost exactly four years after independent scientists recommended reforms that have been ignored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Source: Center for Biological Diversity press release, 06/21/05

Incoming storage garments, according to retailers, have mostly been keeping pace with last year, which was a good one for the service business. Orders for cleaning and repairs, however, were said to vary according to how much effort was put in to promoting them. On the other hand, a number of furriers commented that remodeling has become an easier sell, mainly because women are again wearing furs that had been languishing in storage vaults and may not have seen daylight for 10 years or more for various reasons. As profitable as all these services are, none is as lucrative as remodeling, especially those jobs performed in-house by the furrier or his workers. Although the service operations typically account for 15% to 20% of his annual revenues, they contribute an even higher percentage to his bottom line.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 07/04/05

The importance of trappers’ knowledge of the land and their commitment to conservation was the theme of an inaugural furbearer conservation workshop, sponsored by the Fur Institute of Canada and held in conjunction with its recent annual meeting in Gatineau, Quebec. The co-host was the Canadian Forest Service of Natural Resources Canada. The forum brought scientists and academics together with trappers and forest managers, all of whom share an interest in ensuring healthy habitat and furbearer populations. A number of guest speakers addressed the various areas where foresters and trappers could work together on furbearer and habitat conservation, biodiversity monitoring and wildlife management issues.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 07/04/05

This year’s winner of the Miss New York State pageant won, among other things, a full-length mahogany mink coat that was contributed by Fur New York (FNY), an organization consisting mainly of younger members of the trade. This was the 16th consecutive year that the organization has participated in this manner. The winner, Kandice Pelletier, entered the contest as Miss Greater New York City. She now will compete in the Miss America contest to be held in September. The presentation of the mink coat, which was covered by television, was made by Murray Cox of Alexandros Furs, who is a member of the board of FNY. First runner-up in the contest was Kimberly Ferdinando, Miss Staten Island.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 07/11/05

What used to be Namibia’s premier export product in the 1960s and 1970s, the karakul lamb fur industry, affectionately known then as the “black diamond,” may soon partially relive its booming years once again as plans are afoot to produce more pelts. With the changing shift in fashion trends especially in the wavy looking karakul pelts produced by local farmers in Namibia, experts in the industry predict a much rosier future for the industry. ... This drastic decline was mainly due to the international Anti-Fur Campaign that was severely affecting the use of karakul pelts in Europe and North America. ... As a primary source of income, the 800 Swakara producers contribute close to just over N$20 million dollars to the country’s economy every year, while larger livestock like cattle provide N$840 million and Dober mutton stands at N$297 million.

Farmers are also being given further incentives through government subsidies and with motions that the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) recently agreed to provide funding for agricultural farmers, karakul is set to sail in the wings again."

Source: New Era, 07/13/05

Mink pelt production in the United States in 2004 totaled 2.56 million pelts, up 1 percent from 2003. Wisconsin, the largest mink producing State, produced 768,000 pelts. Utah the second largest producing state, produced 580,000 pelts.

Mink pelts produced during the 2004 crop year were valued at 124 million dollars, up 21 percent from $102 million a year ago. The average price per pelt for the 2004 crop year was $48.40, up from $40.10 in 2003.

There were 296 mink farms producing pelts in 2004, down 3 percent from a year ago. Leading States were Utah with 80 farms, Wisconsin with 67 farms and Minnesota with 28.

There were 17 mink farms which also raised fox in 2004, down from 18 the previous year.

Source: National Agricultural Statistics Service
of the U.S. Department of Agriculture
mink report, 07/15/05

Is the long arm of the U.S. Justice Department now reaching into Canada in its investigation of possible price-fixing? It became known last week that a Toronto-based broker had been visited by Canadian police armed with warrants to search his home. Although the broker reportedly told them he had already submitted all the records sought by the DOJ in its subpoena last year, the agents insisted on conducting a thorough search. Nor would they say what they were looking for, except to comment they were there at the request of the DOJ. They were said to have downloaded computer files, including those of the broker’s teenage sons, and — five hours after they entered the house — left with telephone bills and his wife’s personal phone book. Efforts to reach the broker for comment last week were unavailing. According to trade sources, the search was in connection with suspected collusion among buyers, reportedly caught on video tape, at a sale of otters in Seattle two years ago. The DOJ does not comment on any aspect of an ongoing investigation. According to other sources, however, it is routine for the department to get police in another country to search for material it believes is being held back.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 07/18/05

Liberty has become the latest major retailer to bow to pressure from animal rights activists and stop selling fur.

The upmarket department store on Regent Street in central London announced its decision in an email to the Campaign to Abolish the Fur Trade (CAFT). It follows a protracted lobbying effort which saw hundreds of activists bombard the company with emails and stage a demonstration outside the store last November.

Liberty’s move comes in the wake of Selfridges’ decision to go fur-free in May. Other companies to have made the move include Harvey Nichols, Fenwicks, House of Fraser and Debenhams. Harrods closed its fur salon in 1990, but continues to sell garments with fur trims.

Source: The Independent, 07/19/05

On July 20, 2005, PETA received written assurance that Wet Seal will not carry fur this fall season. As a result, PETA has called a moratorium on its Wet Seal Campaign until January 2006, when PETA representatives will meet with the company to discuss a permanent fur-free policy. In the meantime, please stop all communication with the company. PETA has agreed to stop campaigning entirely until January, so this includes writing and calling anyone associated with Wet Seal. See http://www.peta2.com/TAKECHARGE/t-wetseal.asp for all the details.

Source: PETA email, 07/21/05

Several famous restaurants and chefs across the U.S. have responded to The HSUS’s call for a boycott of seafood from Canada until that country’s annual slaughter of hundreds of thousands of seals is permanently halted. ... The restaurants and chefs that have signed on to the boycott are:

  • Tavern on the Green, Chef John Milito, New York
  • RM Seafood, Chef Rick Moonen, Las Vegas
  • Esca, Chef David Pasternack, New York
  • Town, Chef John Johnston, New York
  • Fifth Floor, Chef Melissa Perello, San Francisco
  • Butter, Chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli, New York
  • Bed, Chef Vitor Casassola, New York and Miami

RM Seafood is a leading seafood restaurant in Las Vegas; Tavern on the Green is the highest grossing restaurant in the U.S.; Bed in Miami, and Bed in New York City are innovative restaurants and known celebrity hot spots. They join Legal Sea Foods, Down East Seafood, Whole Foods Markets, Wild Oats Markets, Original Fish, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, and Spectrum Organics in the United States, and Marks and Spencer in the United Kingdom in taking steps to reduce or end their Canadian seafood sales.

Source: The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) press release, 08/02/05

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